By Emily Chenoweth
Hello Goodbye is the heartbreaking story of a family at a crossroad. Each member is dealing with serious life circumstances, individually and as a whole unit. Love and the realization of loss is a common thread through each character’s life, as it is throughout the book.
College student Abby goes on what is believed to be a final “family vacation” with her parents. She is coming into herself as an adult, and she is making her own decisions. She also is making new, perhaps dangerous friendships, while also learning about love. Abby suddenly has secrets from her parents.
Youth often prevents one from seeing one’s parents as people in their own right. I believe Abby struggled with this, which kept her apart when she really needed them the most.
Consequently, Abby has no idea that her parents are keeping a deep secret from her. She does not know about her mother’s health and illness. As her parents are coming to terms with this issue, they reveal things to their friends and deal with family, leaving Abby out. They really needed Abby as much as she needed them, but parents try to protect their children from life’s hurts. No matter how much one loves their children, though, you cannot protect them from life.
The poignancy of youth, of the coming of age, and the mortality of life make this book remarkable. The situations are very real, and the dealing with them is as well.